We are only through three games in the 2017 MLB postseason, but if there is any theme to be gleaned so far, it’s that my goodness, the starting pitching has been really, really bad.
Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale — who will probably finish no worse than second in American League Cy Young balloting this year — was the latest starter with a dud this October, allowing seven runs to the Houston Astros in five-plus innings in his first career postseason start, in Game 1 of the American League Division Series. He allowed three home runs, including a pair in the first inning by Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve.
First-inning runs have been the rage through these first three playoff games.
Luis Severino allowed three runs, including two home runs in the first inning of the AL Wild Card Game on Tuesday, and was pulled after recording only one out. His counterpart, Ervin Santana, returned the favor, allowing three first-inning runs of his own, and was done after just two innings, allowing four total runs.
The Arizona Diamondbacks tagged Colorado Rockies starter Jon Gray for three runs in the first inning in the National League Wild Card Game. That game looked to be a one-sided affair with Arizona leading 6-0 after three innings, but Zack Greinke fell into the wood chipper in the fourth inning, allowing four runs.
The lone exception so far in this postseason is Justin Verlander, who allowed two runs in six innings on Thursday for Houston. But in a strange way, even that is relatively bad of late for Verlander, who allowed only four runs total in his five regular season starts with the Astros.
Through three playoff games, the numbers for starting pitchers are not pretty — six starts, 35 hits, 24 runs allowed in 18⅓ innings, with eight home runs allowed. That’s an 11.78 ERA.